Virtual Festivals

menu 1
Buy your gear online and collect it at the festival!
menu 1
Online Festival Market
UK Festival Awards 2006 - The Winners!





V Festival

T in the Park

Isle of Wight





Beautiful Days



Global Gathering

O2 Wireless


The Big Chill

Get Loaded

All upcoming events

Official partners:
Glastonbury Festival - Official Website
A Greener Festival
Latitude - Official Website
Download Festival - Official Website
Get Loaded in the park - Official Website
Beautiful Days Festival - Official Website
Wireless Festival - Official Website
HI:FI North & South - Official Website
Global Gathering - Official Website
Creamfields - Official Website
Audience - for the live music industry

Melvin Benn: Reading/Leeds Festival

26 November 2004

Mean Fiddler's director of festivals talks flooding, helicopters, American idiots, and Bruce Springsteen, as well as giving 'clues' as to the identity of next year's headliners.

Page 1 Of 2

As Mean Fiddler's director of festivals, Melvin Benn is one of the most powerful men in the UK festival industry, with Glastonbury, Homelands, and Reading/Leeds all part of his portfolio of responsibility. From his calm manner, you wouldn't think this is one of the busiest men in music but perhaps that's exactly the quality you need to succeed when dealing with dilemas by the dozen load, in his case over two sites hundreds of miles apart! Today he kick-starts a series of fortnightly interviews, as VF quizes all the main festival organisers about their events and where they might be going next year - starting with the Carling Reading and Leeds festivals, held consecutively every August bank holiday weekend.

Virtual Festivals: A man with not one, but two festivals to look after in one weekend. Respect. How exactly?
Melvin Benn: I travelled between the two sites by helicopter. I’d sleep in Leeds, take an early flight to Reading, then spend the day there before coming back up north around six or seven. It was pretty hectic but fortunately you can use a mobile on a helicopter, unlike on a plane, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have done it.

VF: What was better Reading or Leeds?
MB: They were both great but they were both difficult, Reading particularly because of the rain. The site’s actually located on a flood plain and because we had loads of rain during August and especially in the week running up to the festival, there was a real problem with the amount of water on site. There was a similar amount of rain in Leeds but fortunately that site wasn’t also on a flood plain, otherwise it would have been double the trouble. But other than that it was great. They both sold out in advance, which was a first for Leeds, and the line-up was great with everyone getting more than their money's worth from the headliners alone. There were a few issues with 50 Cent but other than that it all went down really well.

VF: Were you surprised by his aerial bottling bombardment? It was certainly a passionate reaction from the crowd.
MB: Well it was an oddity and I was surprised, yes. We have had hip-hop acts for many years at both Reading and Leeds, in fact it’s unusual for us not to. It’s important to reflect different types of music but for some reason it just didn’t work for 50 Cent. Maybe it was because he was billed just before Green Day. Perhaps we should have put him before The Darkness.

VF: Well at least it got him dancing. Will it change your booking policy?
MB: Not really no. It’s had a bearing and we’ve taken notice but we’ll still be looking to include an element of hip-hop. I can’t see why that will change. Maybe we need to be a bit more careful to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

VF: Enough of the lows. What were your highlights?
MB: Green Day were extraordinary and probably my highlight. I was looking forward to The White Stripes and they completely lived up to all expectations, but for some reason Green Day absolutely blew me away. I think it was a very important gig for them. It was the first time they’ve headlined a major UK festival and they just totally pulled it off. Then there was Dizzee Rascal in the Radio 1 tent. We booked him for Homelands and he wasn’t quite ready for the main stage there but he’d really worked it out for Reading and Leeds. The Streets were also great. They just held the audience in their hand and that was especially significant considering the treatment of The Rasmus and 50 Cent.

VF: So apart from not re-booking ‘Fiddy’, will there be many changes for next year?
MB: Not really no. It’s going to be the same amount of tickets and the same site lay out. Reading has been so consistent in terms of how it’s put together that there’s no need to touch it and Leeds has settled into Bramham Park well and really made the place its home. Both are doing exactly what we hoped was possible in running two festival simultaneously. So there will be no substantial change, apart from obviously the line-up.

- Click here to discuss this on the Festival Forums!
Page 1 of 2 Next Page

Article by: Ross Purdie

More info on
Reading Festival
Leeds Festival
Carling Weekend - Reading Festival 2004
Carling Weekend - Leeds Festival 2004
Carling Weekend - Leeds Festival 2005
Carling Weekend - Reading Festival 2005
Green Day
50 Cent
The Darkness
Dizzee Rascal


Godiva Festival


The Smashing Pumpkins For UK Festival

UK Festival Awards 2006: VOTE NOW!

Best Headliners Of 2006? YOU decide!

Reading/Leeds 2007 - On Sale Now!

Kaiser Chiefs Come Home To Leeds

Pearl Jam Make Emotional Return

Killswitch Engage The Crowd At Leeds

Panic! Singer Knocked Out At Reading

Reading/Leeds Tix For Spinto Mandolin

The Organ And Paramore Pull Reading/Leeds


Goldie Lookin' Chain

The Automatic Recover Summer


Scissors For Lefty


Melvin Benn on Latitude Festival



The Go! Team


Hundred Reasons

Boy Kill Boy

Nine Black Alps

Leeds 2005: Razorlight

Foo Fighters @ Reading 2005

Leeds 2005: Hot Hot Heat

Leeds 2005: 65DAYSOFSTATIC

Fightstar - backstage @ Leeds 2005

Elbow - backstage @ Leeds 2005

The Coral - backstage @ Leeds 2005

Towers of London @ Leeds 2005

Adam Green

Carling Weekend interview: GLC

Ordinary Boys: Interview - Islington Academy

Elbow: Backstage @ Leeds 2003

Radio 4: Backstage @ Leeds 2003

Ladytron: Backstage @ Leeds 2003

Just Jack: Backstage @ Leeds 2003

Buck 65: Backstage @ Leeds 2003

Hell is For Heroes Interview


Going Green At Festivals Via The Web

Carling Weekend Preview: Beer versus new bands

Boy Kill Boy on the Carling Weekend

The 'Average Festival Goer' revealed

Supermassive Muse Album Preview

Summer festivals coming to your TV

Festival Bands of 2006

UK Festival Awards - The Reaction

Are you a Reading regular?

Do the Carling Weekend Survey!

Who and why at Reading/Leeds

Be part of the first ever Festival Census!

Top 20 essential festival items

The A-Z List of 2004

Get Festival Alerts on your Desktop NOW!

Carling Leeds Festival (in funny faces)

Virtual Festivals are Recruiting!

New Virtual Festivals Chat Room!

Music festival listings 2003 - get your festival noticed

Leeds 2002 - Backstage Gossip

Large it in Style at the Festivals with Orange


Reading Festival

Leeds Festival

Carling Weekend - Reading Festival 2004

Carling Weekend - Leeds Festival 2004

Carling Weekend - Leeds Festival 2005

Carling Weekend - Reading Festival 2005

Green Day

50 Cent

The Darkness

Dizzee Rascal

© 2006 Ltd. All rights reserved. Technology by: Dijit New Media

Upcoming Festivals
A-Z Listings
Festival Survival
Camping Gear
Digital Downloads
A-Z Listings
Gig Reviews
Message Boards
Desktop Live Alerts
Register / Update membership details
Press Releases
Market Traders!
Advertising and Sponsorship
About Us
Contact Us
Join Our Team!
Media Policy
Privacy Policy






Leeds Festival Information